Mischa Barton Opens Up About Why She Left Hollywood After 'The O.C.'

Marissa Cooper. Never forget.

Mischa Bartom
(Image credit: Getty Images)

She might not have gone home with the Mirror Ball Trophy on Dancing with the Stars, but Mischa Barton says she's already won a far more valuable prize.

"I just got to this place where I needed space," the former DWTS contestant said to (opens in new tab)People (opens in new tab) of life after the OC. "I needed to rediscover what I loved about being an actress because, at a certain point, I was robbed of the fun aspects by being that much under the microscope."

Barton, who made a permanent move to London following a DUI in 2007, says that in Europe she was finally "able to take time and really explore who I was and who I wanted to be."

"I needed that time for myself to really do that self-exploration and get back in touch with my roots. I just needed time to be me and be a regular person. That balance is important. I am nothing but happy to have had that time in my life."

Happy for you too, Mischa. Though about that musical (opens in new tab)...

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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.